Today, 7th February 2023, the publication of the Contract Notice for The Supply Of Combat Boots for the UK Armed Forces is one year late, reports Bob Morrison.
As previously mentioned ~ see Future Supply of UK MoD Combat Boots ~ on 24th June 2021 Team Leidos, acting on behalf of the UK MoD, issued a PIN (Prior Information Notice) for the future ‘Supply of Combat Boots’. In this document the “Estimated date of publication of contract notice” was given as 7 February 2022.
This morning, 7th February 2023, marks the first anniversary of the date when potential suppliers expected to hear precisely what the UK defence procurement machine, aka the Sloth on Mogadon, would be requiring them to tender for to keep the troops well shod. Based on previous contracts the Combat Boots tender process itself, once eventually launched, would invariably take well over a year, possibly even as long as two years, to draw to a conclusion as rather than just buying the best kit off the shelf the MoD insists on running evaluative trials and haggling over prices before making a purchase. The last five year Combat Boots contracts were issued in June 2017, albeit with an option to extend to seven years, so one does not need a doctorate in rocket science to work out that somebody needs to be giving the procurement sloth a prod if the British Army and Royal Marines are not going to have to face the possibility of either deploying in their trainers or buying their own combat boots. Having said that, we know several manufacturers who can supply excellent footwear to the guys and gals. 😉
With even something as potentially straightforward to buy as combat boots taking an age to pass through the system, is it really any wonder that major procurements like the AJAX family of vehicles, which eventually passed its Preliminary Design Review ten years ago, overrun by many years and face possible cancellation despite billions having been spent on them? Or that it took the procurement chain 14 years to introduce the F-35B to plug the capability gap left when the Sea Harrier was retired? Where is that triple facepalm image?
PS. We will keep periodically checking the UK Government’s ‘Find a Tender’ website just in case a Contract Notice about Combat Boots tenders is finally posted, but please note our Refresh button is beginning to wear out.